The Companions of Jehu
23. Alea Jacta Est
At seven in the morning, Fouché, minister of police, entered the bedroom of
Gohier, president of the Directory.
"Oh, ho!" said Gohier, when he saw him. "What has happened now, monsieur le
ministre, to give me the pleasure of seeing you so early?"
"Don't you know about the decree?" asked Fouché.
"What decree?" asked honest Gohier.
"The decree of the Council of the Ancients."
"When was it issued?"
"So the Council of the Ancients assembles at night now?"
"When matters are urgent, yes."
"And what does the decree say."
"It transfers the legislative sessions to Saint-Cloud."
Gohier felt the blow. He realized the advantage which Bonaparte's daring genius
might obtain by this isolation.
"And since when," he asked Fouché, "is the minister of police transformed into a
messenger of the Council of the Ancients?"
"That's where you are mistaken, citizen president," replied the ex-Conventional. "I
am more than ever minister of police this morning, for I have come to inform you
of an act which may have the most serious consequences."
Not being as yet sure of how the conspiracy of the Rue de la Victoire would turn
out, Fouché was not averse to keeping open a door for retreat at the
Luxembourg. But Gohier, honest as he was, knew the man too well to be his
"You should have informed me of this decree yesterday, and not this morning; for
in making the communication now you are scarcely in advance of the official
communication I shall probably receive in a few moments."
As he spoke, an usher opened the door and informed the president that a
messenger from the Inspectors of the Council of the Ancients was there, and
asked to make him a communication.
"Let him come in," said Gohier.
The messenger entered and handed the president a letter. He broke the seal
hastily and read:
CITIZEN PRESIDENT--The Inspecting Commission hasten to inform
you of a decree removing the residence of the legislative body
The decree will be forwarded to you; but measures for public
safety are at present occupying our attention.
We invite you to meet the Commission of the Ancients. You will
find Sièyes and Ducos already there.